What Is Green Flooring?
More and more customers are asking what options that they have for "green" flooring products, and, obviously, the need has arisen for a more proactive approach to our environment.
With more information about harsh and harmful additives, by-products, and hazardous components present in various building materials and the impact that these substances have on Mother Earth and our health, "green" products are in very high demand these days.
Not only is health consciousness an issue, but also the sustainability of the forests worldwide. We are all aware of the greenhouse effect warnings that appear in the news almost daily, so taking a few extra steps to do what we can every day to ensure that our planet and our buildings are safe places becomes not only a prudent choice, but a social obligation.
Did you know that bamboo is a grass product that grows incredibly fast and is generally harvested in three to seven years? What about cork, which comes from the cork oak tree that is never actually cut down; they just peel the bark off every eight to 14 years!
These are just two products that would be excellent environmentally safe choices for your upcoming project. Remember: It is the choices that we make today that will impact the world that we live in tomorrow.
So, what does green flooring really mean?
This question can be answered in several different ways, actually. Each way refers directly to the impact that a product's production, refining, or maintenance may have on the environment as a whole.
Let's take a look at some of the options that make a flooring product "green."
Unfortunately, up until recently, this industry was potentially causing a lot of harm to the world's supply of free-growing trees. However, the growing awareness of our planet's limited resources and the ability to reproduce some of those resources has brought attention to our needs as individuals and as a society as a whole to conserve.
So now we come to how hardwood is green. Many different elements can make hardwood "greener" than the next. The most important is probably the method of harvesting and controlled growth. Around the world, various companies have devoted large plantations to the preservation and strict controlled harvesting of their products.
Another method to make hardwood more "green" is the engineered wood process. Hardwood generally comes in two constructions: solid and engineered.
A solid product is just what it says: a chunk of wood milled into plank or strip form. It uses much more actual wood than the alternate.
The more environmentally friendly engineered products consist of a veneer of the actual wood over a sturdy construction of lesser wood, such as plywood. At times, a second wood layer is added to the bottom, as well.
A small portion of hardwood flooring's "green" factor is included into the maintenance suggestions. Chemicals are generally controlled by local or federal laws, but some of those that pass can still be harmful to the atmosphere. It is important to investigate which substances put out problematic fumes.
In this method, the bark is carefully removed from the cork oak tree and left to dry for some months before being sent into production. This entire process—of not cutting down the tree at all—is one of the most effective "green" methods available today.
For most other flooring products, the limitations begin to grow at this point. For linoleum and vinyl, harmful VOCs must be limited with the creation and recycling of these products. Newer products have safer, more environmentally sound methods and better recycling procedures to ensure the controlled and reduced amount of harmful toxins released.
For thousands of years, the methods have only become more efficient, but never changed. Mud, clay, dirt, and other natural components are heated in an oven—often multiple times—to create the sturdy product with which we are all familiar.
Phoenix from American Hi-Tech Flooring
Functional Expression from Bentley Prince Street
Awana Game Floors from Electra Tarp
Robbins Pulastic Floors
LG RexCourt Resilient Sports Flooring from Gerbert